Ontario marijuana stores could be open for business by spring

ONTARIO – Residents in Ontario could expect to buy recreational marijuana from local stores in two months.

That’s if all the stars lined up, said Dan Cummings, Ontario community development manager.

Cummings began accepting conditional use permit applications from marijuana entrepreneurs Wednesday, Jan. 2.

This came after the land grab triggered when Ontario voters approved to repeal the local ban on the retail sale of marijuana products.

Those who want to run a marijuana business face a gantlet of regulations, including city zoning and other conditions, building codes, state licensing, and finally a city business license. They also face requirements for a $7,500 bond before they can open their doors.

According to Cummings, there are 16 sites in Ontario that meet zoning and other city restrictions to operate as marijuana stores. 

He said eight operators so far have submitted applications for 12 of those sites.

Each had to “prove they either own the place, have a lease or contract purchase to the property,” said Cummings.

After receiving the conditional-use permits applications, Cummings said he is reviewing each application to see if it met all the minimum requirements.

“I review if they meet the minimum requirements enough info for me to review their application,” said Cummings. “They need to provide enough inform that proves that the site and building will work. So at the very minimum, they had to provide a site plan and floor plans.”

He said the site plan and floor plans should show that the proposed building meets the city’s parking, disability access and bathroom requirements.

“After I review and approve them, I send out a notice to people within 300 feet of the property and there’s an appeal period,” said Cummings. 

He said property owners neighboring the marijuana retailer would have 12 days to appeal his approval. 

An example of a valid appeal would be if the city’s approval for a pot retailer including waiving building or code requirements. A property owner would have to submit a form and pay a fee to appeal.

“Let’s say the property met all building or code requirements but the person couldn’t meet all the parking requirements and asked for a variance on that,” said Cummings. “If I approved it and approved that site, then other people can appeal my approval.”

If no one appeals, Cummings issues what’s called a Land Use Compatibility Statement, which tells the state the property can be legally used for marijuana sales.

“That provides city acknowledgement that the proposed marijuana business complies with the local zoning plans,” said Mark Pettinger, spokesperson for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s recreational marijuana program. 

Pettinger added that the OLCC has “dedicated staff to handle license applications from Ontario and other jurisdictions that approved marijuana business activity in November 2018.”

A pot merchant would also need to get a local business license from the city of Ontario, which they can apply for any time.

Even with state and city business licenses in hand, Cummings said “the actual building has to be ready to occupy.”

That means, the space has been remodeled according to all the site and floor plans. 

Cummings said one applicant has a location – 325 NE Goodfellow – that would be ready to open soon.

“If everything lined up perfectly, there’s a possibility they could open up in one and a half to two months,” said Cummings. “But again, I don’t get to control how they build their buildings… So it also depends on how fast they can get their buildings remodeled.”

Marijuana retail sales

Here are the companies, their key contact information and location in Ontario.

Hotbox Farms: Steve Meland: 325 N.E. Goodfellow. Undeveloped land, N.E. 3rd Ave., 482 N.E. 3rd St., 1063 S.E. 30th St.

Segreto LLC: Charles Oakes: 591 E. Idaho Ave; 187 N.E. 1st Ave.

East Lane Holdings LLC: Brandon St. Germain & Aaron Boshart: 184 East Lane.

Left Coast Canopy II LLC: Joseph Dunne: 1335 S.E. 1st Ave. 

Treasure Valley Cannibis Company LLC: Jermy Archie, 400 block S.E. 12th Ave.

Golden Thumb Farms: Jeremiah Golden & Marie Golden, undeveloped land, N.W. 11th St.

Burnt River Farms LLC: Shawn McKay and & Gus Young, 1021 N.W. Washington Ave.

Chadcor Holdings 2 LLC: Michael Hanigan & Matthew Chadwick, undeveloped land, S.E. 10th St.